Writer’s Market is a great resource to writers. Similar to other editions, the 2015 edition included articles on publishing your work and reference listings of book agents, publishers, and periodicals.
The section entitled “Query Letter Clinic” is a highlight. I regard Writer’s Market as the gold standard reference for how to format queries and manuscripts if the agent or publisher hasn’t specified anything different. Writer’s Market 2015 has very good query advice including clear examples of what to do and what not to do. To me, this is the most useful part of the book. There’s lots of “free” advice from other sources online about writing query letters, but you get what you pay for.
That being said, although many Writer’s Market buyers are probably aspiring novelists, the articles within the book are geared more so toward freelance magazine article writers. That’s where a typical writer can actually make income. Unfortunately, the articles become repetitive. The contributors must not have known what other contributors were covering, or the editors didn’t really care that so many of the same topics were being covered three or four times, or both.
The writing style of the articles is very bold and almost “in your face.” Some of the articles read more like blog posts by individuals who are very experienced and knowledgeable about the publishing world but who are also extremely opinionated and didactic.
The listing of publishers is must have been a perfect resource in the days before the internet. The deluxe edition of Writer’s Market provides access to the information on the web (for which 2015 access has expired). But a lot of information about publishers and agents is available online for free.
I found the section on contests to be eye-opening. Pursuing awards is not something I have given a lot of thought, but contests can be a good way to get feedback and advance your craft. Reading through the different contests and their submission guidelines gave me helpful ideas about what to do with some of my projects apart from the usual pitches and queries.
Every writer should get an edition of Writer’s Market at least once as a reference. But these days, once may be enough, and in other years you can buy other books about publishing that are more specific to your genre.